A world of vampires, werewolves, and wizards is on its way to screens big and small.
Married writer-producers Eric Heisserer (“Shadow and Bone”) and Christine Boylan (“The Punisher”) and production company Hivemind (“The Witcher,” “The Expanse”) have partnered with game publisher Paradox Interactive to develop the World of Darkness story universe for film and television.
Launched in 1991 with the tabletop roleplaying game “Vampire: The Masquerade,” the World of Darkness universe includes other properties like “Werewolf: The Apocalypse,” “Mage: The Ascension,” “Orpheus,” and “Hunter: The Reckoning,” and has expanded to video games, comic books, novels, virtual reality, and card and board games. From the outset, the franchise has set itself apart in the world of science-fiction/fantasy by putting players inside the shoes — or claws, or wings — of a vast and interconnected coterie of monsters who live amongst humanity, and then forcing them to make complicated moral decisions about how to slake their character’s darkest urges.
Critically, the World of Darkness titles have built their audience through embracing a wide gamut of representation of race, gender, creed, and sexuality.
“The World of Darkness story universe is deliberately and unapologetically inclusive and diverse,” Boylan said in a statement. “It has always made a point of including equal gendered characters, protagonists and antagonists of every race, and representation of all creeds — bringing a female and diverse audience to gaming like nothing prior. Its games and fandom are a place where women, POC, and the LGBTQI community feel welcome and we are very proud to bring these stories to life.”
“The legacy of these stories is way ahead of its time, inviting issues and perspectives other games ignored,” Heisserer added. “This feels like the next step for genre.”
There are no distribution deals yet set so the World of Darkness team can keep their options open, and the team expects to announce development on specific titles in the coming year.
“Eric and Christine are among the most extraordinary creators working today,” said Hivemind president and co-founder Jason Brown. “They’re also gamers who have played in WOD since it began. It’s a rare opportunity when the connection between storyteller and story runs this deep, and that is the alchemy which has led to many of our favorite and most culturally resonant franchises.”
Heisserer is currently the showrunner and executive producer of “Shadow and Bone” for Netflix, and he was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay of the 2016 sci-fi feature “Arrival.” He’s also written “Bird Box,” “Lights Out,” and his directorial debut, “Hours.” Boylan has written on several TV series, including “The Punisher,” “Cloak and Dagger,” “Constantine,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Castle,” and “Leverage.” She’s also written DC and Marvel comic books, and she’s a co-founder of Bespoke Plays, a live-reading series of new plays in L.A. and New York.
Hivemind is currently developing a spinoff anime and prequel series of the Netflix’s live-action adaptation of “The Witcher,” and also produced Amazon’s acclaimed sci-fi series “The Expanse,” currently shooting its sixth season. Its leadership team includes Jason Brown, Sean Daniel, and Kathy Lingg.
Both Heisserer and Boylan are represented by Art/Work Entertainment and WME.